Requests for police to chastise naughty children and help
remove spiders have partly prompted a change to the way the
West Australian force filters its phone calls.
Calls to the state's force have jumped more than 20 per cent
in two years, stretching call centre staff to the limit.
It has prompted Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan to bring
in a new system which will ask callers to the 131 444 number
whether they need urgent assistance or not.
More than 200,000 general inquiries were made to the 000
emergency line and the 131 444 general contact line last
year, including some which baffled police.
Police were asked for assistance to find lost pets and mobile
telephones, one parent called because a child had locked
themselves in a toilet and one peeved resident wanted police
to charge his neighbour for calling him an idiot.
Mr O'Callaghan said the jump in demand had left staff
struggling to try and answer calls from the public in a
"The sheer number of calls to the centre means WA Police is
no longer meeting its grades of service and the delays are
frustrating for callers and the call takers," he said.
"We're getting calls for drivers license information. We're
getting calls for vehicle information. We're getting calls
about council sprinklers being on and we are not in a
position to continue to provide that information constantly."
From next week, callers to the police's 131 444 number will
be asked to press 1 if they require immediate police
attendance or 2 for any other matter.